Sleeping on Sandwiches - Day 3

Sleeping on Sandwiches - Day 3

The Posture Police Blotter has been on hiatus for awhile and I'm bringing it back with a daily blog that will run from June 20 through September 22. This daily edition will have a different focus to it and the gem in all of this is that what I'm going to be writing and what I've written about posture and the Alexander Technique are all related. Follow along and learn how! 

End-Gaining

As I’ve mentioned, things are a “litte” chaotic in my home, and I think unusually so.  I’ve talked quite a bit about my contributions to the chaos, so let’s take a look at the other three family members, starting with the the only guy of the four of us in this posting.  My partner is a full-time father, as I’ve mentioned.   He’s an extremely devoted parent.  He has “OCD”.  Not like he likes to line up his socks in color order.  I mean, he might enjoy doing that, but the short version is that he has a strong tendancy to obsess over details to the point that the big picture crumbles.  This manifests itself in a variety of ways and has elements of intense creativity and intense disfunctionality all mixed together.  OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is a topic that I plan to address in more detail at some point during this daily blogging experience.  OCD-like habits are something that I have struggled with as well and have found that The Alexander Technique is a tool that has helped me make it over many hurdles.  Going back to my partner, one of the clearest ways that his OCD behaviors manifest themselves are in his organizational skills.  He loves to organize things.  It helps him feel in control, but he spends so much time organizing each detail, that our home is either mostly a mess, or a huge portion of it is in a state of waiting-to-be-put-away.  In short, at the moment, about half of our apartment is being used as a holding area – like using rooms as temporary closets.  We moved to our current apartment a little over a year ago and much progress has been made, but much is left to be accomplished.  The amount of space that we are living in in our apartment is the size of the faith in our family.  The un-lived-in space in our apartment feels like the untapped potential of our family.   I feel that the unused space represents our fears, doubts, and uncertainty.  Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, I become easily accustomed to, and even I think sometimes take comfort in chaos and lack of change.  When a big change for the better happens, it can feel scary before it feels better.  I can feel ok confining myself to a small space to spend time in and tune out the clutter and confinement.

I was speaking with a friend on the phone last week and talking about difficulties of organization and communication amogst myself, my partner and our children and the degree of anxiety and lack of purpose that my partner has been feeling despite his making great efforts to change things in our home.  My friend noted how much support he could use in  that it can be pretty scary to feel purposeless for a prolonged period of time.  This observation was a great reminder that I can be an agent of support.   It was a reminder to fully be present and to support this person who I have chosen to be with.  What was really almost magical about that moment was that I had a sense of awareness of my whole apartment around me and it was like I could see the closet-rooms emptying out and us filling up and using that space.  Even though the stuff was still there, I felt very three-dimensional and really in the space, accepting it and not rejecting it.  I believe that we can work together so that we’ll be able to more fully live in and enjoy our home and that my contribution and support can make a significant difference.  I think that it is easy for me to fall into a trap that I am a helpless to the power of the challenges that he faces and there’s just no way that I could offer the support that he requires.  Rather than feeling like I have to solve his problems, I can offer kind words, smiles, a listening ear, accepting that’s he’s ok where he is now, and most of all being a present participant supporting his efforts to change things, not reatreating because it seems too hard.  Retreating is giving up and trying to “take charge” can be a way of forcing something that just doesn’t work.  I remind myself that I choose be in this relationship and swimming in a sea of ambiguity about it can be descructive.  Going for it and really being there has so much more potential.

F.M. Alexander talked about the concept of “end-gaining”.  That’s basically trying to get to your goal while skipping through the necessary steps.  Engaining is manifested in all sort of ways.  Passivity and impatience can both be forms of endgaining.  When I’m teaching Alexander Technique lessons, I help my students learn to do simple things in a more efficient, natural, and present way.  When a student moves from sitting in a chair to standing and vice-versa, I asked them to be present during the whole journey in and out of the chair.  Sitting and standing aren’t fixed points of arrival and the inbetween moment getting from one to the other is just as important as getting there.  Most people have to work on being conscious and present during the inbetween moment.  It easily becomes like driving a route that you’re accustomed to driving and once you reach your destination, you don’t recall how you got there.

Can you think of some examples of endgaining in your life?  In yourself or in others?  Can you think of situations in which you or other people you observe do not endgain?